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First and foremost – this review was done with some early painted prototypes and the final product may vary slightly. That being said, these items are very close to production status… and a ton of fun to boot!
Ever since I first started making dio-stories like 16 years ago (good grief how old am I?) I’ve been dying for a modular diorama/base system to use with my G.I. Joe figures. Some things have come and gone over the years, and recently I’ve been drawn to the Chain Base model, but those can be complicated and usually have to be imported from Japan.
But now, Raginspoon toys is ramping up to start offering their own customizable base model, including swappable floor panels and wall panels with a ton of expandability and some great features for 1:18 action figure fanatics.
NOTE – The color of “Desert Tan” will be much more tan and much less yellow in the final version! The below color is a closer match:
Above is a Complex “Wall Panel” which comes in two separate colors, “Urban Gray” or “Desert Tan”, and as you can see above you can remove the two panels (or just one) to create a door or window. When you do remove just one of the panels to create a window, there is a hole in the lower panel that works with some of the connectors from one of your favorite 1:18 military toy lines…
As you can also see, the smaller holes here (and throughout the rest of the base parts) can accommodate backpacks (or other similarly sized peg items) from the same or similar toy lines.
Along with these wall panels are different types of floor panels, also available in “Urban Gray” or “Desert Tan”.
These floor panels can also double as additional wall panels if you need to expand your base. The floor panels (like the walls) reversible to show a metal grate pattern or a more concrete pattern on the opposite side. Then, in order to combine the floor panels with the wall panels, connectors are available as well.
The gray connectors seen above slide into grooves within the walls and floors in order to assemble the bases into any number of different configurations. As you can see above, the connectors can have one tab, two tabs, three tabs, or a fully decked out four tab system in order to provide flexibility and aesthetics when connecting the pieces together.
The last two images above are a “Desert Tan” end connector with a step. The end connector is designed to go underneath one of the wall panels with the step plugging into it to create a “step up” look for a door.
Note: The end connector and step will be colored in the same “Urban Gray” as the other parts in the final version, NOT the yellowish/tan.
So, the real question – how does this all work?
Really, REALLY well. I was fortunate enough to get some of these ahead of release so I could play around with them, and I am having a blast. The walls and floors slide together via the gray connectors really smoothly and are easy to take apart and put together, yet also hold together amazingly well. You can design single level bases, or lift the walls up higher by stacking, which makes these things exceptionally flexible. The various holes throughout the bases provide any number of points for adding tech detail or other things, and with a little creativity you can totally ramp up the usability of all of these pieces.
These items are NOT cast items, they are factory produced overseas and currently available for pre-order at SmallJoes.com. The material is solid and durable for the walls, floors, and all connecting pieces as well. Trust me when I say I beat on these pretty hard while taking pictures for the review and suffered no breakages or even weakness in any of the connecting joints at all. They work remarkably well and are only hindered by your imagination.
As I mentioned, the floors are double-sided and can be used as either floor pieces or wall pieces. The walls themselves are also double-sided and provide some cool additional detail on the external facing side, so not only do these make for great interior dio’s, but there’s some good flexibility for outside appearance as well.
In my nearly two decades of looking for unique ways to put together dioramas and dio-stories, this has been one of the most user-friendly and flexible ways to put together excellent next generation bases for your favorite action figures, big or small. The folks at Raginspoon also have some BIG things in the works for a second wave and going forward, which will take these sets and ramp them up big time. If these move there are even more fantastic items in the works for the future, so get them while you can over at SmallJoes.com!